Pedestrians must often cross from one side of a road to the other, by so doing may confront the way of vehicles traveling on the road. In many places pedestrians are entirely left to look after themselves, that is, they must observe the road and cross when they can see that no traffic will threaten them. Busier cities usually provide pedestrian crossings, which are strips of the road where pedestrians are expected to cross.
The actual appearance of pedestrian crossings has great variations, but the two most common appearances are: (1) a series of parallel white stripes or (2) two long horizontal white lines. The former is usually preferred, as it stands out more conspicuously against the dark pavement.
Some pedestrian crossings also accompany a traffic signal which will make vehicles stop at regular intervals so the pedestrians can cross. Some countries have "intelligent" pedestrian signals, where the pedestrian must push a button in order to assert his intention to cross. The traffic signal will use that information to schedule itself, that is, when no pedestrians are present the signal will never pointlessly allow vehicle traffic to stop.
Pedestrian crossings without traffic signals are also common. In this case, the traffic laws usually states clearly that the pedestrian owns the right of way when crossing, and that vehicles must stop when a pedestrian uses the crossing. Countries and driving cultures vary greatly as to the extent to which this is respected. In the state of Nevada the car has the right of way when the crosswalk signal specifically do not allow pedestrian crossing.
Some jurisdictions do not allow crossing or using the road anywhere other than at crossings, termed jaywalking. In other areas, pedestrians owns the right to cross where they wishes, and have right of way over vehicular traffic while crossing.